Breaking out of an East Coast Isolation
I was a locked up East Coast kid for a majority of my life. Growing up, my parents were too strapped to travel and some portions of Maine have a habit of sucking you in and never letting you out. To put this into perspective, I had never been outside the country or even seen New York City until college.
However, about 35 years ago, my mother spontaneously broke from her shell and traveled to Chino, CA with her then-husband and his chopper motorcycle. She stayed there for a couple years until finally returning back home.
It was an experience that I often heard about and seemed to be this strange, intriguing aspect of my mother.
Fast forward to a month ago when I was asked to travel to the Chino/Pomona area for work which I thought was an equally strange stroke of fate as the client hired a NJ based Videographer to travel to California instead of hiring someone from the saturated film markets of the West Coast.
JFK -> LAX
I spent Monday and Tuesday relentlessly filming. It was pleasure working for Eric as he saw that we were not over worked and showed us around the area including the mandatory trip to In N Out Burger.
I know it's just a burger and fries but I thought it actually lived up to the hype. You could taste a distinct freshness in what is usually a cheap, quick eat-out option.
After working nearly 24 hours in 2 days, I woke up Wednesday morning and decided it was time for an adventure. A close friend of mine lives in West Hollywood, less than an hour from Chino so I decided to meet up with her and she was generous enough to allow me to stay at her place for a couple nights.
Wednesday was all about LA and Hollywood. My friend, Jenni, proved to be a well skilled tour guide as she crammed in a poolside experience at The Standard downtown, Grand Central Market, Griffith Observatory and a night on the strips of Sunset and Hollywood Blvd.
Unfortunately my tour guide had to leave so that left me on own Thursday but not without an agenda. Trying to break from that isolated New England mold, I was determined to catch a glimpse of the Pacific.
I drove from LA to El Matador State beach in Malibu and finally laid eyes on the other side of our continent.
I'm not going to describe the experience in detail as it was a rather personal moment for me but after 2 hours on the beach, I felt I had soaked it all in and was ready to move on.
I stopped by Neptune's Net per recommendation and indulged in super fresh fish tacos and a nice craft lager.
After lunch, I drove down the PCH and landed at my final destination, Venice Beach. Overall, it was interesting to see the vibe of Venice but I was a little put off by the boardwalk and characters. I don't think I'm easily threatened (Philly helped change that) but I noticed a particularly hostile atmosphere towards the tourists, especially women. You could also see how enamored children were of the boardwalk "residents." I celebrated the adventure with a nicely aged Tatuaje "Mummy" cigar on the beach.
During sunset, I skyped my wife in so she could witness a stunning view. It was a bucket list item to check off but after the trip, I wished I had stayed in Malibu. It was more my style and the people seemed more laid back.
After the trip was over, it reminded me how important it is to step out of your comfort zone. I know this sounds completely silly and a little self-centered but I truly feel I was given this opportunity after deciding to leave Maine that one day when I was 19. It put my feet forward and helped me continue on a path of experience, the same as it did for my Mother 35 years ago. Persistence and determination in life produces amazing rewards even if it's years later.
Places of Recommendation:
Neptune's Net, Malibu, CA.
The Standard, Los Angeles, CA.
Rainbow Room, Hollywood, CA.
Grand Central Market, Los Angeles, CA.
In N Out Burger
Bankers Vault, Venice, CA (Restaurant)
Yard House (Gastro Pub)
Wood and Vine, Hollywood (Bar)